Tuesday, 26 May 2020

The Corona Diaries: Andy Mace

These recent times have been some of the hardest challenges we've faced and as a community, it hit us pretty hard. However during these difficult times, here at Pocket Size Theatre, we wanted to spread a little positivity and share some peoples experiences because we are all in this together. Each day we'll be speaking to our friends in the industry to share their experiences with you all so take a read and see how people are getting through these hard times.

Let's stick together, share the love and get through this as a community!

*Some information mentioned in this article may be out of date due to the progress of the current situation. Please keep that in mind when reading* 

Andy Mace is currently in the London cast of Only Fools and Horses the Musical at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. His other credits include Standby Scar/Pumbaa in The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre); Nuttall/Wormold in Betty Blue Eyes (Novello Theatre); Professor Callaghan in Legally Blonde (UK Tour); Dad/Callaghan in Legally Blonde (Savoy Theatre); Dr Dillamond and cover The Wizard Of Oz in Wicked (Apollo Victoria Theatre); Ensemble/Percival Glyde in The Woman In White (Palace Theatre); Bishop/Javert in Les Misérables (Queens Theatre); Swing/Roger/Mark in Rent (Prince of Wales Theatre); Teddy/Jerry/Harold in The Full Monty (Prince Of Wales Theatre); General Radet/Fouche in Napoleon (Shaftesbury Theatre); Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Show (UK Tour); Ensemble/Roger/Mark “Rent” (Shaftesbury Theatre); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Troilus and Cressida & Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Open Air Theatre Regents Park) and Ensemble/ Guillaume/ Father Dominic in Martin Guerre (Prince Edward Theatre). 

On Monday 16th March 2020, The Society of London Theatre announced the closure of all Theatres in London. This followed suit with regional venues. Where were you when you found out and what was your initial reaction? 

I was in the Theatre Royal Haymarket, ready to start our performance of Only Fools and Horses when the announcement was made. As events transpired the performance was eventually cancelled. It had become clear that our audience weren’t going to be keen to be in the theatre so the producer Phil McIntyre decided to pull the show. We were all shocked but had to accept that we were facing a prolonged layoff. Spirits were pretty low! 

Can you tell us anything productive you’ve been doing? 

Well yes! I’ve been writing children’s stories for a couple of years and with this extra time we have I’ve managed to write four more so far. I’ve also had them copyrighted and am arranging for them to be read as audiobooks and maybe turned into animated shorts. I’ve also been writing songs in collaboration with a poet, and keeping fit by walking every day. I’m trying to make the most of life at the moment!

Whenever you log onto social media there is so much negativity circulating. How have you been trying to keep a positive mental attitude during these times? 

I don’t engage with negativity around the lockdown on social media, to be honest. No one knows how this situation is going to play out and there are developments every day that could drastically change the conditions. That’s why I try to take everything one day at a time and stay as busy and as positive as I can. 

With the Arts temporarily shut down, how would you advise people to continue to support the Arts industries?

Well the government need to extend their furlough scheme for self-employed people such as actors, musicians, crew, stage management. So far we’ve been falling through the cracks of the scheme. This isn’t fair on us, and needs to change. 

Have you discovered anything that you’d like to recommend to our viewers? 

Disney+ is excellent. We’ve had hours of fun with that one app and it’s super affordable. Other than that, we’ve been watching live streams of our musician friends doing live gigs. Zoom meets with the cast of the show have also helped. 

In these times of Social Distancing and isolation, how have you been trying to connect with Friends and Family? Any fun quizzes or games?! 

Yes, despite the difficulty! FaceTime has been used extensively in our house, quizzes with the cast and my family have all been great. 

And finally, looking to the future, what are you most looking forward to when all of this is over? 

Just getting back to a normal routine will be amazing. Going back to work for the first time will be an amazing day. I can’t wait! I’m even looking forward to getting on the train! 

We'd like to thank Andy and all other performers who have given up their time to contribute to this feature.

For more information please visit GOV.UK and NHS.co.uk

Other useful links for anyone needing further help:

Acting For Others - Charity that provides financial & emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need.
Help Musicians - An independent Charity that helps all forms of Musicians through times of need.
Industry Minds - Mental Health Support for the creative arts.
Theatre Helpline - a free, independent and confidential phone and email service that provides support to people working in the theatre industry.
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